by Carrie Steinweg
MUNSTER, Ind. (March 2018) – As more people head outside to take advantage of spring weather, one Lansing man is spending a lot more time indoors. Ken Morton is part of an indoor rowing team at Fitness Pointe in Munster that is currently competing for a 10th consecutive win in the World Rowing competition.
Sponsored by Concept2, a manufacturer of indoor rowing equipment, the challenge runs for a 30-day period that began on March 15. In 2017 Morton’s team rowed a whopping 24,549,595 meters, beating out 67 other international teams entered in the Health/Fitness division. The team had close to 200 rowers comprising Community Healthcare system employees, facility staff, and members.
This is the third year that Morton is participating. Last year he contributed 577,154 meters. He’s hoping to up that number this year.
The most serious of the indoor rowers spend day after day at the rowing machines. A handful have surpassed a million meters, and one team member last year rowed 2.3 million. Morton has been at Fitness Pointe to log his meters every day since the competition started. He gets there at opening time, 5:00am, and rows for about five hours, with some short breaks during that span for an energy bar and some water.
Morton has been a member for many years, usually working independently on machines and participating in water aerobics classes. When he heard about the rowing team, he thought it would be a good opportunity to meet new people. “It seemed to be something I could do with others and meet other people. I didn’t know many people there other than those in the water aerobics, and there’s really no competition in that,” said Morton. “Rowing was something you could participate in as a group. You’re rowing individually, but trying to get a good score for the team.”
When he’s there rowing, he gets to know other members. His favorite part of being involved in the rowing competition is the potluck at the end of the season. “We celebrate together what everyone has done,” he said.
He finds inspiration in seeing the wide range of people that make up the team. “There are people who are bent over and using canes, but they’ll get on the machines and go for two hours or longer,” he said. “It nice to see them participating and it makes you feel like no matter what happens in the next few years as far as health, maybe I can continue to participate in my later years.”
The retired tool and die designer had some hip problems after last season and worried about how that would affect him this year. However, a physical therapist suggested some stretching exercises, and he’s found that so far he’s feeling better. “I think it helped loosen everything up even more,” he said.
He’s grateful for the employees who coordinate the program, including some that provide musical entertainment and trivia for rowers one morning a week. “Cindy is the one who runs it for Fitness Poine and does such a nice job,” he said. “She has to keep track of all the scores, and I’m sure that’s a humungous job.”